grayscale photo of a boy aiming toy gun selective focus photography

Thoughts of many writers and thinkers on the subject of guns, and the easy availability of guns in America.

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To arm ourselves is the most extreme form of separation I can imagine. To move through life without weapons is another way to remain open to the world, and at its mercy.

— Kristen Radtke

I’ll carry on, carry over, carry forward, Cary Grant, cash and carry, carry me back to Old Virginia, I’ll even ‘hari-kari’ if you show me how, but I will not carry a gun!

— Alan Alda

There’s no evidence that I’m aware of that guns protect liberty.

— Alan Dershowitz

There’s no evidence that I’m aware of that guns reduce crime.

— Alan Dershowitz

Both Alton Sterling and Philando Castile had guns on them, which is part of their Second Amendment right. It is a part of a culture that is largely protected by special-interest groups like the N.R.A., but the right to bear arms, it seems, only exists for white people.

— Alicia Garza

The Constitution has become a convenient tool and talking point for politicians that get paid by the NRA. The same goes for Americans who just love their guns, so suddenly they’re Constitutional scholars who care about what our founding fathers allegedly wanted.

— Ana Kasparian

As a general point, the United States has an extreme budget commitment to prisons, guns, warplanes, armored vehicles, detention facilities, courts, jails, drones, and patrols – to law and order, meted out discriminately.

— Annie Lowrey

If you can’t protect yourself with talk, you won’t be alive to protect yourself with guns.

— Arthur Boyd

I screamed but he couldn’t hear me over the blast of the gun or the explosions that followed. I wish I had never touched the damn thing. Guns cause more problems than they’re worth.

— Ben Ditmars, The Zeppelin Chronicles

After every massacre in a school, Americans grasp at quick cures. ‘Let’s install metal detectors and give guns to teachers’ Let’s crack down on troublemakers, weeding out kids who fit the profile of a gunman. Let’s buy bulletproof whiteboards for the students to scurry behind, or train kids to throw erasers or cans of soup at an attacker.’

— Bill Dedman

When it’s easier to buy a cache of assault weapons than cast a vote — expect massacres to be the norm

— Bill Madden

Why should guns be treated different than toasters? If your defective product injures somebody, you’re responsible for it.

— Blake Farenthold

America is a country founded on guns. It’s in our DNA. It’s very strange but I feel better having a gun. I really do. I don’t feel safe, I don’t feel the house is completely safe, if I don’t have one hidden somewhere. That’s my thinking, right or wrong.

— Brad Pitt

America Is A Gun
England is a cup of tea.
France, a wheel of ripened brie.
Greece, a short, squat olive tree.
America is a gun.
Brazil is football on the sand.
Argentina, Maradona’s hand.
Germany, an oompah band.
America is a gun.
Holland is a wooden shoe.
Hungary, a goulash stew.
Australia, a kangaroo.
America is a gun.
Japan is a thermal spring.
Scotland is a highland fling.
Oh, better to be anything
than America as a gun.

— Brian Bilston

What does it tell you that applications for guns since the shooting are up 41 percent in Colorado, and that our cameras found about 50 people in line at one gun shop yesterday outside Denver?

— Brian Williams

All kinds of celebrities, political ones as well, are increasingly being targeted. In this country, with all the countless guns.

— Cesar Romero

The NRA has become financially dependent on more and more guns being sold – especially the expensive ones. In turn, the NRA has stated that its top legislative priority is to protect gun makers by advocating for legislation that benefits them.

— Chris Murphy

When I was growing up, it was ‘Communists’. Now it’s ‘Terrorists’. So you always have to have somebody to fight and be afraid of, so the war machine can build more bombs, guns, and bullets and everything.

— Cindy Sheehan

How can we speak to each other like equals when one of us is holding a gun?

— Cliff James, Life As A Kite

I’ve had times where one of my roommates was moving out of the house in college, and because we were the only black people in that neighborhood, the cops got called, and we had guns drawn on us. Came in the house, without knocking, guns drawn on my teammates and roommates. So I have experienced this.

— Colin Kaepernick

There are many controversial topics out there – abortion, nuclear weapons, the 2nd Amendment, guns, whatever, the war in Iraq. You’re going to be on one side, somebody’s going to be on the other side. Invite those people to the table. Sit down and talk.

— Daryl Davis

If I could uninvent anything, I would uninvent Hitler’s mum, guns and broccoli.

— Dominic Monaghan

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

— Dwight D. Eisenhower

My belief is that guns are too easy to get in America. My belief is that the NRA has bought much of our congress, to the point that guns are actually the only unregulated consumer product in America. Think about that. It’s stunning.

— Elayne Boosler

Yes, people pull the trigger – but guns are the instrument of death. Gun control is necessary, and delay means more death and horror.

— Eliot Spitzer

I would like to live long enough to see the day when people talk about which guns are the safest.

— Elizabeth Esty

We lose eight children and teenagers to gun violence every day. If a mysterious virus suddenly started killing eight of our children every day, America would mobilize teams of doctors and public health officials. We would move heaven and earth until we found a way to protect our children. But not with gun violence.

— Elizabeth Warren,

It doesn’t matter how the gun fell into the wrong hands. It only matters that it did.

— Ellen Hopkins, People Kill People

Teachers do not need to be armed with guns to protect their classes; they need to be armed with a solid education in order to teach their classes.

— Emma Gonzalez

In Florida, to buy a gun, you do not need a permit, you do not need a gun license, and once you buy it, you do not need to register it. You do not need a permit to carry a concealed rifle or shotgun. You can buy as many guns as you want at one time.

— Emma Gonzalez

Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?

— Ernest Gaines

It’s very dramatic when two people come together to work something out. It’s easy to take a gun and annihilate your opposition, but what is really exciting to me is to see people with differing views come together and finally respect each other.

— Fred Rogers

We protect aspirin bottles in this country better than we protect guns from accidents by children.

— Gloria Estefan

It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.

— Harper Lee

You don’t spread democracy with a barrel of a gun.

— Helen Thomas

They have the guns, we have the poets. Therefore, we will win.

— Howard Zinn

When guns boom, the arts die.

— Howard Zinn

America… just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.

— Hunter S. Thompson

My accident happened in what should have been one of the safest places to be: in a police station, at the hands of trained police officers. So more guns are not the answer.

— James Langevin

I grew up with a single mother, and I wasn’t out shooting too many guns.

— Jason Momoa

There’s no reason that there shouldn’t be universal background checks to ensure guns don’t get in the hands of people who should not have those guns.

— Jen Psaki

We have to go to war against the people who enable the gun violence, the people who stop us from keeping guns out of the hands of mentally unstable people, of felons, and that means the NRA leadership.

— Jerrold Nadler

To me guns meant indiscriminate power, the risk of fatally misjudging someone else’s worth.

— Jocelyn Nicole Johnson

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard among the guns below.

— John McCrae

It would be refreshing to have a politician try to defend guns without any reference to the Second Amendment, but on the merits of guns.

— Jonathan Safran Foer

If there is any state that typifies prototypical ‘Murica’ where the trucks and the guns are big and the social safety net is oh so small, it’s Texas.

— Krystal Ball

My father died many years ago now – of natural causes. So it goes. He was a sweet man. He was a gun nut, too. He left me his guns. They rust.

— Kurt Vonnegut

An eccentric feature of the new gun laws is that people entering the state capitol can skip the long lines of tourists waiting to pass through metal detectors if they show the guards a license-to-carry permit. In other words, the people most likely to bring weapons into the building aren’t scanned at all. Many of the people who breeze through are lawmakers or staffers who actually do tote concealed weapons into the offices and onto the floor of the legislature. But some lobbyists and reporters have also obtained gun licenses just to skirt the lines.
I’m one of those people.

— Lawrence Wright, God Save Texas: A Journey Into the Soul of the Lone Star State

With more than a million Texans licensed to carry handguns, the state is actually far behind Florida, with 1.7 million. “I’m EMBARRASSED,” Governor Greg Abbott tweeted in 2015; “Texas #2 in nation for new gun purchases, behind CALIFORNIA. Let’s pick up the pace Texans. @NRA”

— Lawrence Wright, God Save Texas: A Journey Into the Soul of the Lone Star State

Guns, she was reminded then, were not for girls. They were for boys. They were invented by boys. They were invented by boys who had never gotten over their disappointment that accompanying their own orgasm there wasn’t a big boom sound.

— Lorrie Moore

Violence is an evil thing, but when the guns are all in the hands of the men without respect for human rights, then men are really in trouble.

— Louis L’Amour, The Daybreakers

… the fact that a police officer on TV said what used to be a fist fight or road rage is now a shooting, and what used to be a domestic dispute is now a gun rampage, and what used to be a tardy or disruptive student is now a school shooter, the fact that the police aren’t much better themselves, the fact that what used to be an arrest or a warning is now a split-second execution …

— Lucy Ellmann, Ducks

The guns and the bombs, the rockets and the warships, are all symbols of human failure.

— Lyndon B. Johnson

Any idiot can kill his enemy with a gun; the hardest is to kill your enemy with love! Love kills her enemy by making the enemy her friend!

— Mehmet Murat ildan

Every one of my positions cuts – out half the country. I’m pro-choice, I’m pro-gay rights, I’m pro-immigration, I’m against guns, I believe in Darwin.

— Michael Bloomberg

If you are a gun manufacturer, the product you make is not subject to safety regulation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Toy guns are subject to safety regulation; water pistols are, but not real guns.

— Michael D. Barnes

Should we have background checks, waiting periods? To drive a car you have to pass a test that shows you know how to drive your car safely, you should have to do the same thing with guns.

— Michael D. Barnes

I think the NRA, they got it half-right when they say, ‘Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.’ I change it to, ‘Guns don’t kill people, Americans kill people.’

— Michael Moore

Take a little thought experiment. Imagine all the rampage school shooters in Littleton, Colorado; Pearl, Mississippi; Paducah, Kentucky; Springfield, Oregon; and Jonesboro, Arkansas; now imagine they were black girls from poor families who lived instead in Chicago, New Haven, Newark, Philadelphia, or Providence. Can you picture the national debate, the headlines, the hand-wringing? There is no doubt we’d be having a national debate about inner-city poor black girls. The entire focus would be on race, class, and gender. The media would doubtless invent a new term for their behavior, as with wilding two decades ago. We’d hear about the culture of poverty, about how living in the city breeds crime and violence. We’d hear some pundits proclaim some putative natural tendency among blacks toward violence. Someone would likely even blame feminism for causing girls to become violent in a vain imitation of boys.

Yet the obvious fact that virtually all the rampage school shooters were middle-class white boys barely broke a ripple in the torrent of public discussion. This uniformity cut across all other differences among the shooters: some came from intact families, others from single-parent homes; some boys had acted violently in the past, and others were quiet and unassuming; some boys also expressed rage at their parents (two killed their parents the same morning), and others seemed to live in happy families.

— Michael S. Kimmel, Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era

A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention with the possible exceptions of handguns and Tequila.

— Mitch Ratcliffe

There is more hooey spread about the Second Amendment. It says quite clearly that guns are for those who form part of a well-regulated militia, i.e., the armed forces including the National Guard. The reasons for keeping them away from everyone else get clearer by the day.

— Molly Ivins

Fourteen-year-old boys are not part of a well-regulated militia. Members of wacky religious cults are not part of a well-regulated militia. Permitting unregulated citizens to have guns is destroying the security of this free state.

— Molly Ivins

In truth, there is no rational argument for guns in this society. This is no longer a frontier nation in which people hunt their own food. It is a crowded, overwhelmingly urban country in which letting people have access to guns is a continuing disaster.

— Molly Ivins

We do not need guns and bombs to bring peace, we need love and compassion.

— Mother Teresa

Adolescence, that swampy zone between safety and power, is best patrolled by adults armed with sense and mercy, not guns and a badge.

— Nancy Gibbs

Guns are part of the American psyche, aren’t they? This is collateral damage for having a Wild West mentality. It’s intrinsic to the American psyche. It’s never going to change.

— Nick Cave

Guns don’t kill people. Gun owners kill people.

— Oliver Markus Malloy

Obviously a president can’t rule as a king and ban all guns. But I think we need a president who is going to make sure that there is gun control and that people still feel like their freedoms are intact.

— Paul F. Tompkins

When the first settlers arrived in America nobody knew who was White and who was wrong. No Natives had ever seen a firearm before, or had a clue who could be the good guy with the gun.

— Péter Zilahy

Our love affair with guns has nothing to do with tyranny, or militias, or self-preservation. Just ask any NRA member the following: If Jesus Christ himself were to come down off the cross and grant you one wish, would you opt for a world without guns — or the one we live in now? If every gun owner truly feared for their life and liberty, the answer would be obvious. But it’s not about life and liberty. It’s all about the sheer hard-on of owning a gun.

— Quentin R. Bufogle

Why do we still cling to the intellectually retarded notion that liberty can be obtained, maintained, or lost at the end of a gun barrel? When you’re working 3 minimum wage jobs to make the minimum payment on a pair of socks you bought 12 years ago because your credit card company slapped you with an interest rate that would make a loan shark holler WTF! … well, no one needs to hold a gun to your head. Your ass has already been sold down the river.

— Quentin R. Bufogle

Representative Willis has introduced a bill, modeled after a Chicago law, to hold gun stores accountable for flooding our streets with weapons. Thousands of guns recovered by the Chicago Police Department can be traced back to just a handful of stores.

— Rahm Emanuel

There is a recognition that Second Amendment rights, like First Amendment and other rights, come with responsibilities and limitations. There is no reason both sides of the gun debate can’t support policies that both protect the right to legally own guns for sport and safety, and reduce the likelihood of mass fatalities.

— Randi Weingarten

Something is wrong here, and it’s more than easy access to guns or violence on TV. It’s about lack of love and attachment to loving people early in life.

— Rob Reiner

I never liked guns, I hate them, I always blink before they go off.

— Roger Moore

Of course I do not regret the Bond days, I regret that sadly heroes in general are depicted with guns in their hands, and to tell the truth I have always hated guns and what they represent.

— Roger Moore

We’re going to see fugitives and felons, eventually, being able to get guns much more easily.

— Sarah Brady

In Canadian comedy, you’ll almost never see guns. If you bring a gun into a scene, it’s like, ‘Whoa! Wow, how are we going to deal with that!’ Guns in an American comedy are a given. Violence in America is used in a much more cavalier way.

— Scott Thompson

In Houston everyone owns guns and uses ’em – sometimes just for the hell of it.

— Shelley Duvall

Speaking personally, you can have my gun, but you’ll take my book when you pry my cold, dead fingers off of the binding.

— Stephen King

Semi-automatics have only two purposes. One is so owners can take them to the shooting range once in awhile, yell yeehaw, and get all horny at the rapid fire and the burning vapor spurting from the end of the barrel. Their other use – their only other use – is to kill people.

— Stephen King

Yes, guns are to men what jewelry is to women!

— Steve King

Guns are the tools of the poorly educated.

— Steven Magee

The poorly educated air their grievances with guns, the smart use science, discovery and the global internet.

— Steven Magee

Guns are the problem and more guns are not the solution.

— Steven Magee

I’m concerned about how accessible guns are.

— Stevie Wonder

America is drowning in guns. Even if they were all banned from midnight tonight, it would probably take a century or two to get them all out of circulation and maybe not even then.

— Stewart Stafford

We live in a world of guns, bombs and terror. To conquer hate seems a nigh-impossible task.

— Theodore Bikel

Our surest protection against assault from abroad has been not all our guards, gates and guns, or even our two oceans, but our essential goodness as a people. Our richest asset has been not our material wealth but our values.

— Theodore C. Sorensen

Nelson Mandela is, for me, the single statesman in the world. The single statesman, in that literal sense, who is not solving all his problems with guns. It’s truly unbelievable.

— Toni Morrison

We cannot remove guns once they are made. We can still stop making bullets.

— Vineet Raj Kapoor

I would like to see every single soldier on every single side, just take off your helmet, unbuckle your kit, lay down your rifle, and set down at the side of some shady lane, and say, nope, I ain’t a gonna kill nobody. Plenty of rich folks wants to fight. Give them the guns.

— Woody Guthrie

When I speak out against the guns or against the big corporations, some of my friends say, ‘Oh Yoko, be careful. These people have all the power.’ But, you know, most people don’t speak out because they are frightened.

— Yoko Ono
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